This book. I've been waiting to read this book since last September, when I met Wiley at SIBA. But FINALLY the day has come..."A Land More Kind Than Home" is now for sale. I'm so excited I almost can't stand it.
Because here is the deal. Wiley Cash is the bomb. He is a Southern gentleman, he is adorable, he loves his wife. So nothing could please me more than to add to that list that he is an amazing writer. Amazing.
Let me tell you a little about the story first. Then I shall gush.
Synopsis: In a small town in North Carolina, two brothers live the life that all boys would want. They have a loving mother and father, they hunt salamanders, they play in the nearby creek, and they help their father with his tobacco crops. It is clean living. It bears little concern that the older brother, Christopher (nicknamed Stump) is mute. He was born that way. Jess, the younger of the two, has always watched out for him and thrives on his companionship.
But there is an insidious evil nestled in the town in the form of a local preacher. He runs a church where all the windows are covered with newspaper, and there have been hushed stories about what happens out there during the prayer service. When Jess, always curious, does a little snooping one day with Stump, it sets loose a series of events that will destroy the lives of many.
In a story narrated by Jess, Clem Barefield, the local sheriff with a painful past, and Adelaide Lyle, the town's midwife and guardian angel of the children, written with an authentic and earnest Southern voice, the reader will in turns be charmed, electrified, and overwhelmed at this debut masterpiece.
My thoughts: I feel like I have been given the temporary gift of precognition. While reading Wiley's book, I just kept shaking my head and saying to myself "Damn this is good. This is so good. This is going to change his life." I couldn't stop reading. The story is so rich, so evocative, so gripping. This is going to launch Wiley's career. I feel lucky, I guess, that I met him, and had an engaging conversation about the merits of stretch jeans.
It seems that I am not the only one to think this, because I've seen the book featured both on a Barnes & Noble e-mail I just received, and on my library's website.
My first reaction is that Wiley has such a unique literary voice. It is very Southern, and very easy to read. You feel like the characters, who are each unique, living, breathing, bleeding human beings, are sitting on the porch next to you in a rocking chair, telling you their story. As they are sitting there, they cry, they raise their voice, they grab your hand. That is how it felt.
And what a story. After I finished Chapter 1, I had to send out a tweet and just exclaim something (for the record, I think it was Holy Crap). Right out of the gate, you are blasted into a quagmire of corruption and heinousness. He doesn't mess around. And he drags you right along with him right up to the very end. And I'm making it sound all violent and terrible, and yes there is that. But there is also an innocence and a nostalgia where you can find redemption, resolute strength and love.
Waste no time my friends. Read this one.
5 out of 5 stars